Most of us have headed to the supermarket, shoved a load of things in our trolley and then proceeded to the checkout, only to be shocked by the total bill. Often enough, a quick read over the receipt is sufficient to jog our memories. We realise that we did purchase scallops and that rather fancy bottle of red wine. The evidence is clear and puts an end to our desire to demand the cashier justify this attempt at robbery…
So why do we think it would be any different when it comes to billing for law firms? Clients, like anyone, are much more willing to accept the total if they can see how it was reached. Which means data visualisation.
Don’t take our word for it
We regularly speak to our customers about how and why they use tools such as Clocktimizer. For many, one of the key benefits Clocktimizer provides is the ability to show clients what work the firm has completed during a matter in a clear, understandable way.
In many firms it can be nigh on impossible to assemble and visualise all of the work performed under a matter. In many cases all that can be produced is a long list of individual timecards linked to the matter. While this goes some way to explaining all of the hard work a firm has done, it is indigestible in a large matter.
At Clocktimizer, we produce easy to understand visuals on both budget usage, and as billing summaries of the whole matter. This data visualisation, in the form of clear graphs or summaries, is immediately understandable. It allows firms to clearly show how and why the budget was spent, reducing the likelihood of a client demanding write-offs.
Avoid proactive discounting with data
Firms can be guilty of discounting prices even before they deliver the bill to the client. In many instances there can be a fear that the bill is too high, or may exceed an agreed upon fee. However, this discounting will be invisible to the client. As we recently explored in our webinar on matter leakage having conversations involving data instead of discounting work proactively has two knock on positives for a firm:
- Better understanding of firm value for a client – proactive write-offs may seem helpful, but they are invisible. A client won’t know you have discounted the work. Talking with a client about the work you have done already, and why you understand that the client needs the discount, makes the client aware of how well you value the relationship. This is likely to lead to increased collaboration and less discounts.
- Better working environment – It can be disheartening, when working as an attorney, to do a huge amount of important work for a client only for it to be written off. It can make you feel as though your work doesn’t have value when it clearly does. By opening up a conversation with the client, you improve team dynamics at the firm and make it a more attractive place to work.
Using data to secure new clients
The ability to demonstrate and justify all the hard work your firm has performed will go a long way to increasing transparency and client satisfaction. Clients will truly be able to identify the value you bring. Better yet, easily shareable billing visualisations will also make it easier for your clients to justify firm costs at their own companies.
Detailed plans, and pricing breakdowns are instrumental to instilling trust in a potential client. They show that you have fully researched the project, that you truly understand what it will cost, and the value you bring. In such a competitive industry as law, your firm will stand out by offering pricing transparency from the very beginning. Using a tool like Clocktimizer can achieve that in a low impact way for your pricing and legal project management teams.